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Surf Story

Surf Story


I was surfing a long board out past

the place where you can still smell

Coppertone when a ten foot wave

smashed me down into darkness.

Five times up and five times under,

about to black out when my shoulder

scraped sand and California sun

burned my back again. I never thought

I would re-live this story every day

I practice medicine, a doctor’s life

spent learning to survive tumbling

between reason and panic, wave after

wave of patients pounding you under,

grit in your mouth, salt water up

your nose, catching a quick breath

between cases, reminding yourself

your body knows how to float

when you have no idea which way is up.


Dr. Berlin is Senior Affiliate in Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. E-mail: Richard.Berlin@gmail.com. His most recent collection of poetry, PRACTICE, is published by Brick Road Poetry Press.

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